A couple of weeks ago I left for Kiev, Ukraine. Or rather, a group of us did. I wont bore you with details, but my best friend is getting married and this was part of his bachelor party. We kidnapped him from work the day before, and spent the weekend drinking champagne, dancing, eating - and taking him to a bunch of secret locations. One of these locations required us to catch a morning flight to Kiev, and then a bus to Chernobyl.
Why Chernobyl, you might ask? Why not! Also, Leo (my best friend) has always wanted to visit it. So have I, and so when the group of guys planning the bachelor party brought up the idea, I was jumping with joy. It might sound strange, even tasteless to some people, but I can assure you that we all went because we have a genuine interest in the place and it's history.
Chernobyl and the town of Pripyat (located next to the nuclear reactors of Chernobyl) is approx 2 hours away from Kiev by bus. We had our bus and guide to ourselves, and so the whole trip was very intimate and informal. Our guide was herself the granddaughter of a man who lived in Pripyat during the accident, and she told us stories and showed us photos for four hours. We also got to watch a documentary about the accident on our way there. Suffice it to say - I learned SO MUCH. Too much to tell you all here, of course. But here are some tidbits, along with a first batch of photos.
We first entered a zone where the workers of Chernobyl (which is still running) live today. The second photo is an old movie theatre, isn't it pretty? We then, after rigorous security controls and changing clothes, entered the radioactive zone. We were given masks and (which I guess are mostly a gimmick) and Geiger meters to read the levels of radiation. We then visited the reactor, the Red Forest (a pine wood where the radiation levels are the highest) and then the town of Pripyat. I learned so so much about Pripyat that I want to tell you more in my next post. It'll be up tomorrow so stay tuned. Also, tomorrow I am leaving for a roadtrip through Europe, and I will keep this visual diary updated on my travels - so keep and eye out. - Emily